There’s no use denying that this entry is going to be a bit biased and subjective. It must be so. That’s what ths blog is for.
Besides, a person who had to get up early every Monday morning to be present, fresh and active durng classes on which students had to look for the translators’ touch in novels through the analysis of the most frequent words, certainly has a right to have her say. I just want you to listen to a story about two translators, one book and a curious researcher with a fancy software on his computer.
Almost 100 years after Viginia Woolf’s Night and Day was published, one of the Polish publishers decided to commission the first translation of that book into Polish. Anna Kołyszko took up the challenge, however, sadly enough, she died before finishing the translation. Another Polish translator, dr Magda Heydel (notabene, my lecturer), took the translation over and finished the job, as well as edited the rest heavily. Thus, the joint translation was published in 2010.
When dr Rybicki (the one who forces his students to make consensus trees on Monday mornings) from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, heard about that unusual history, he called his colleague to get the digital version of the translation with authorship attribution experiment on his mind. Using his and Maciej Eder’s script [click for more information], he managed to find the exact chapter in the book where Kołyszko finished translating and Heydel took over.
Yesterday in the afternoon some of the DH2012 participants had a chance to have a peek at a history of that stylometric Eureka. During the presentation titled The Stylometry of Collaborative Translation [the abstract can be found here], dr Rybicki explained step by step how he arrived at the right conclusion and, what is facinating, what was dr Heydel’s reaction to the success of his detective-like investigation. A short, surpised “yes.”
It would be perfect if every research on translator’s visibility ended like this. Usually there were not so many clear conclusions on Monday mornings, but perhaps that’s because of lack of coffee;)